Hey, look what I found on SBS website. This is a great initiative! Next time I will definitely take a rickshaw, and choose the solar one.
A new plan to make rickshaws solar has won the backing of NGOs and the Indian Government.
“A group in India is working to reduce pollution by making auto-rickshaws, also known as tuk-tuks, solar powered.
They’re cheap and convenient and millions of people across Asia use them daily to get around.
But auto-rickshaws, or tuk-tuks, are also choking the cities they serve, belching toxic fumes in their wake.
Now a group in India says it has developed the three-wheeler of the future, one that’s powered partly by the sun.
For three years, workers from RJMS have been tinkering away in a small workshop in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on a pollution revolution.
“There are many thousands of autos running on the road and polluting,” RJMS Director, Rakesh Sharma said.
“If we want to be green we need to do something with renewable energy.”
The company has retrofitted nine existing auto-rickshaws with engines that run on batteries. They can be charged not only with electricity, but also with solar power.
The rickshaws appear the same as their ubiquitous forebears but with a solar panel for a roof and batteries in the spot that usually houses a combustion engine.
“This can increase the mileage from 25 to 30 per cent,” Mr Sharma said of the energy generated by the solar panel.
Over the past three months RJMS has run a pilot project testing the vehicles in Delhi, Nagpur and Bangalore. The company wants to have 800,000 on the road in the next five years.
But this kind of mass production will require a great deal of investment and political will.
While India’s transport minister has applauded the initiative, no funds have yet been forthcoming.
Government subsidies will be required if this is to succeed on a mass scale.
RJMS says it costs almost $4000 to retrofit a single auto, which is well beyond the means of the average driver.
The company says the next phase of the project will involve building charging stations, ideally every three kilometres.
Drivers will need to change their batteries after 110 kilometress.